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Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it beca...
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Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it became a division of General Mills.

Darden is most closely associated with its two largest restaurant brands: Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Both of those chains now have more than 600 locations. The company's attempt to diversify its restaurant holdings has had mixed results. In 1995, Darden shut down an internally developed Chinese restaurant chain called China Coast. Since its spin-off, Darden has also created a barbecue and sports bar-themed restaurant group called Smokey Bones, a Caribbean-themed chain called Bahama Breeze, and a higher-end group of restaurants called Seasons 52. The company announced its intention to sell its Smokey Bones restaurants in May 2007, admitting that the brand did not have the potential to become a national chain. In August, Darden agreed to purchase Rare Hospitality International, which operates the LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille restaurant chains, for an estimated value of $1.4 billion.

Clarence Otis, who took over the company from long-time chief Joe Lee in 2005, serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Darden posted $5.6 billion in annual sales in fiscal year 2007. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DRI.
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Top Darden Restaurants, Inc. Articles

Displaying items 12-22
  • Darden delays shareholder meeting amid proxy fight

     Darden delays shareholder meeting amid proxy fight
    Embattled Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. pushed back its annual shareholder meeting 10 days, the company announced Thursday, amid a battle with activist investors. Darden Restaurants will now hold its annual shareholder meeting on Oct. 10,...
  • Activist fight will complicate search for new Darden chief

    An activist investor's efforts to wrest control of embattled Darden Restaurants will make the search for a new CEO even more difficult, industry analysts say. Analysts and consultants following Darden's recent struggles say the company's Sept. 30 annual...
  • Starboard raises Darden stake to 8.8 percent

    Starboard raises Darden stake to 8.8 percent
    Starboard Value announced Tuesday that it now owns 8.8 percent of Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), up from 6.2 in May. Starboard is a hedge fund with a hostile plan to replace Darden’s entire board. Starboard and Darden have been feuding since...
  • Red Lobster announces location of new headquarters

    Red Lobster announces location of new headquarters
    Red Lobster will establish its new headquarters and culinary center in downtown Orlando at CNL Tower 1 next to City Hall. Red Lobster will have three full floors in the building, plus the culinary center on the first floor, for 300 employees. The...
  • Darden attacks Starboard: Erroneous, misleading, careless

    Darden attacks Starboard: Erroneous, misleading, careless
    Darden Restaurants attacked hedge fund Starboard Value in a lengthy letter to shareholders on Monday. The letter defends the sale of Red Lobster restaurants and labels Starboard’s criticism of the sale as erroneous, misleading and careless. Darden...
  • Olive Garden update: How designers tackled the job

    Olive Garden update: How designers tackled the job
    The challenge: Bring new life to a 30-year-old Olive Garden restaurant chain by redesigning 800 restaurants. That’s what Philadelphia designer Karen Daroff tackled when she landed Darden Restaurants’¬†overhaul of its largest brand, with the...
  • Darden Restaurants faces $13M lawsuit from Xerox

    Darden Restaurants faces $13M lawsuit from Xerox
    Xerox Corp. and Orlando-based Darden Restaurants are engaged in a $13 million disagreement over a canceled, six-year human resources services contract. Darden is trying to work out the disagreement, according to a statement from Rich Jeffers, Darden...
  • Darden announces more debt repurchasing

    Darden announces more debt repurchasing
    Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) announced Monday that it began a program to buy down $600 million of its debt. The debt repurchase is subject to Darden completing sale of its Red Lobster business to Golden Gate Capital, which the company announced in May...
  • Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis to resign

    Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis to resign
    After two straight years of declining profits and mounting pressure from investors, embattled Darden Restaurants Chief Executive Officer Clarence Otis on Monday announced plans to resign by the end of this year. Otis is stepping aside at a tumultuous...
  • Darden completes $2.1 billion sale of its Red Lobster chain

    Darden completes $2.1 billion sale of its Red Lobster chain
    Red Lobster began a new era Monday, as Orlando-based Darden Restaurants completed its $2.1 billion sale to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. The chain is going "back to the basics of being not just the biggest, but the best seafood restaurant,"...
  • Darden Restaurants shareholder dispute boils over

    Darden Restaurants shareholder dispute boils over
    This morning’s news release from Darden Restaurants is a unique example of a corporation wading hip deep into a shareholder dispute. The statement by Orlando-based Darden (NYSE: DRI) praises its own current board of directors and charaterizes a...